Sunday, August 29, 2004

NYC security

Don't know what's scarier, the threat of terror or the stormtroopers in the streets. From Meryl Johnson at The American Street:

There's nothing to compare with watching paranoia do its thing. Anyone in NYC who farts during the next couple of weeks is going to be in danger of being arrested as a bioterrorist. Think I'm joking? I'm not. I'm suggesting a Group Fart as a demonstration.

Here's what I know now about the Big Plan. I watched Ridge, Pataki, and Bloomberg make their announcement from the floor of Madison Square Garden. Security is going to be provided by federal, state and local agencies. On the federal level, he Secret Service, of course; that makes sense because they always protect the president. The FBI wasn't mentioned, but they're certainly around. Homeland Security -- the coast guard, (well, this is a port) and various "classified" agencies -- apparently around 8 of them. On the state level -- the national guard and the state police. Locally, the poor old NYPD, with many of its members in plain clothes, especially on the subways. Plus something very vague about "help" from New Jersey and Connecticut. Who pays for all this? The taxpayers, of course, although Bloomberg made a pitch saying "private contributions" will cover much of the cost of the convention. Everybody made a big pitch about New York being "the safest city in America." Not with all these paranoid nuts around, it isn't.

The fun has already begun. Without announcing in advance that this was going to happen, the streets closest to the Madison Square Garden were suddenly closed off yesterday afternoon, creating an amazing traffic mess. Geez! Nobody's even there yet! I was planning to go to Macy's today, but I don't think I'll be able to get there from here. I was also hoping to sneak some photos of the security in the area. They wouldn't arrest a little old lady with a cane for taking pictures, would they? Yeah, they probably would, or at least take my camera away -- especially since it's a tiny digital camera, and I'd be sneaking around. I might try a bus ride to see how and where the busses are being rerouted, and whether they just stop dead at around 23rd St. There was a wonderful photo in the paper today of -- I guess it's the National Guard with machine guns -- standing at attention at the entrance to Victoria's Secret. Good grief! Who's likely to attack Victoria's Secret?

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